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Joy of sixth for Ireland

SQUASH: A battling Irish women's squad finished sixth at squash's World Team Championships held in Nimes, France. The Irish team, including the veteran Madeline Perry, world ranked No 10, and Aisling Blake, world ranked 23, suffered a shock loss to India in the fifth place play-off.

The match couldn't have been tighter with Perry beating the Indian No 1 Dipika Pallikal and Blake only losing to Joshana Chinappa after four closely fought sets. Ireland had earlier lost to India in their pool, so knew they were up against it.

In the play-offs, they produced a determined performance against host nation France, with Laura Mylotte getting the team off to a great start when she beat French No 3 Maud Duplomb in five sets.

Perry had an equally close match against old rival Camille Serme and drew on all her experience to close out the match in five games after Serme made a mid-match comeback.

Next up were many times former champions England, with the Irish going down 0-3 and Breanne Flynn coming in for Mylotte.

Against New Zealand, Perry and Blake again saw the Irish team through after two five-set marathons.

Locally, Arthur Gaskin beat Derek Ryan in the men's final at the Leinster Squash Open, while Zoe Hall got the better of Tanya Owens in the women's decider.

The Irish Junior Open is taking place this weekend in Belfast.

TRIATHLON: Olympic sailor Annalise Murphy finished second in the 18-24 age-group at the Ironman 70.3 Lanzarote in the Canary Islands -- only her second ever triathlon.

Murphy completed the 1.9km swim, 90km cycle and 21.1km run in six hours 21 minutes despite high winds and big climbs. Best of the 28-strong Irish contingent was Ireland's champion Eimear Mullen who finished sixth in 4:54 -- the only Irish competitor to break five hours. Stuart Dillon just missed that target, finishing in 5:01.22, followed by Neil Kelly, Patrick Carolan and veteran Mick Bolger.

HOCKEY: An all-Leinster derby between Leinster League table-toppers Loreto and Railway Union at Grange Road, Dublin, is the pick of today's second round of the Electric Ireland Irish Senior Women's Cup. UCD play Old Alexandra at Milltown, while Hermes face Armagh.

Irish women's international hockey manager Sally Ann Flanagan won the Manager of the Year award at the Irish Sport Council's National Awards to Volunteers in Sport in Dublin.

Flanagan managed the team in 155 matches between 2006 and her retirement earlier this year, taking in three European Championships, two Olympic qualifiers and a World Cup qualifier.

Next up for the women's hockey team is the World League 2 tournament in Spain in late February, with the top two teams qualifying for the World Cup. The tournament is a first assignment for new coach Darren Smith.

BADMINTON: Ireland's world and European champion Niall McVeigh won the men's singles in a thrilling final at the Irish Four Nations Para-Badminton Championships in Lisburn.

After losing the first set, McVeigh had to draw on all his experience to beat Andrew Martin from Scotland in three sets. Rachel Choong won the women's title, while Bobby Griffin won his category and two further medals. Martin Rooke was also a triple winner. Coaching the team was Dan Magee, who is also the Irish national coach.

•Badminton is on the list of sports for the 2020 Paralympics. There are four categories -- dwarfs, standing, wheelchair and LDs.

SNOOKER: Celbridge Snooker Club have become the first ever winners of the RIBSA Club of the Year award. The award is based on club rankings -- not only in men and women's senior categories, but also in masters, intermediate, junior and billiards.

Among those picking up points for the Co Kildare club were senior men Joe Delaney and John Sutton, Irish women's No 3 Michelle French, inter player Peter Leung and Brendan Devlin in billiards. Newbridge CYMS came second.

•Johnny Wiliams and Brendan O'Donoghue begin their group matches at the World Snooker Championships in Bulgaria today.